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I asked folks to “Toss Me a Birth-Related Word” on my Navelgazing Midwife Facebook Page and “Crowning” was the one of the words. Here, I’ll use it as a springboard from which to jump.

When I attended my first birth, when the baby crowned, I thought there was no skull and was horrified. No one else seemed worried, though, so I tried to keep my panic controlled. Then, when the baby came out, the skull magically appeared! I watched closer the next few times, trying to see what the heck that was, the brainy-looking head coming out with crowning. It was the skin of the head smooshed together as well as the molding that happens with the sutures as the baby goes through the pelvis. While molding can hang on for a couple of days, that skull-less image was gone immediately after the head was born.

That feeling was so scary, I can remember it even now. I try to warn new doulas about that so they don’t get weird about it themselves.

Hmmm… maybe in the age of YouTube that doesn’t happen anymore?

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Reader Comments (6)

I had that weird moment, but tactile instead of visual with birth #2. I was checking my own progress, and I felt some weird thing that DID NOT in any way shape or form resemble what I thought a baby head should feel like. The plates of the skull overlapping topped by scalp, hair and slime. Lovely. I told the MW's "That doesn't feel like a head!"

They didn't laugh at me and gently said reassuring things.
Thanks, team!

Would have been pretty terrible if they had said something like, "OH NOES YOU'RE GOING TO DIE BECAUSE IT'S REALLY AN ALIEN!" Probably would have scarred me for life.

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Kung

When *my* babies crowned, it felt like the biggest, scariest thing in the world was coming out of me, I felt like I was coming apart! The pain, the pressure, the burning! I can still feel it, making me involuntarily kegel almost 13 years since my last birth....aye yiy yiy!!!!

Witnessing the first birth, (I was 16, and accidentally caught a baby on the hospital floor while in active labour with my first) I thought for SURE something was wrong with his head...it was too small! Too wrinkley, too much like a walnut to be a normal healthy baby head! Then as his head slipped out, and his skull unfolded, like one of those little sponge beans you put in water and voila! up pops a full size baby head! It was cray-zee!

Of course, now I am used to seeing that amazing molding, but STILL just as awed that it happens.

May 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterColleen

Thanks for sparking the memory that I also remember being puzzled (although fortunately no tscared!) when I first saw that wrinkly crowning head! I figured it out as well after a couple of births but as a new doula I wasn't expecting it. I don't know if YouTube videos are really good enough to convey how it looks?

I thought the same exact thing when I witnessed my first birth. ("Oh my God! There is no skull! It's the baby's brain!")

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteratyourcervix

I didn't feel my first three crown ( first birth had epidural, next two came out so fast they just shot out of me). Just had my fourth eight weeks ago and man oh man the crowning was INTENSE!! But I still had enough brains to remember to slow down so my vagina wouldn't explode, haha.

NGM I've been lurking here for weeks and can't get ENOUGH of your blog. I have a total girl crush on you! Wish I didn't live on the other side of the country. I'd love to drink tea ( or diet coke!) and talk birth with you!

June 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTara

Awww, Tara... how sweet are you! Sorry I haven't been very prolific for you (and others) to read the last couple of years... been a tough time. But, I'm committed to picking up on writing, including the controversial aspects of midwifery and homebirth.

And re: sitting with tea/Diet Coke, there's always Skype! I love Skype and have Skyped with several women, some just to chat... others who had things to talk about. So if you want to chat sometime, let me know and we can certainly do that. :) Email me at NavelgazingMidwife AT gmail DOT com. Thanks for the sweet words.

June 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

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